DUBAI 8 June 2017: The governments of Libya, Maldives, Jordan, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania have joined a number of Arab countries and have severed their diplomatic ties with the State of Qatar.
The closure of borders with neighbouring countries and the withdrawal of the diplomatic staff from various embassies in the region have resulted in restrictions on travelling to and from Qatar.
With no transport available to their home countries, how do nationals and residents of countries that have severed ties with Qatar leave Doha and get back home?
Vice-versa, how do Qatari nationals and residence visa holders leave countries which have cut transport links, and go back to Doha?
Qatari Citizens: Qatar has urged its citizens to comply with the decision of its neighbours and leave the territories of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE within 14 days, commencing on 5 June, 2017. Qatari citizens are requested to contact the respective consular posts abroad which will assist with the travel arrangements if necessary. Qataris are advised to travel back the country via Kuwait or Oman, says immigration specialist Fragoman.
UAE, Saudi and Bahraini Citizens: UAE, Saudi and Bahraini authorities have announced bans for their citizens against travelling, transiting or residing in Qatar. Those currently in Qatar are requested to leave as soon as possible.
Foreign Residents in the GCC: Holders of residency visas from Qatar will face difficulties in obtaining visit visas to countries which have closed their diplomatic representations in Doha, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt. For example, foreign nationals residing in Qatar applying for visas to Saudi Arabia may have to travel back to their home country to do so.
The UAE has announced that that foreign nationals in Qatar with residency visas, will not get a visa on arrival in UAE Those who are not eligible for a visa on-arrival based on their nationality are advised to prearrange their visas in advance and seek out other categories of sponsorship including airlines, hotels or tourist agencies, said Fragoman.
The Philippine government temporarily suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to Qatar and recruitment agencies have been asked to ensure that Filipino workers in Qatar are safe and have adequate food stocks.
Air Travel: The UAE, Bahraini and Saudi airspaces are closed for the aircraft originating from Qatar. Flight duration between Qatar and other countries is expected to be longer due to airspace restrictions. An increase in travel time will have an impact on the ticket prices.
Courier Services: Document shipping between Qatar and the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is delayed. The majority of carriers are rerouting the shipments, while others, including FedEx, have suspended the services between the affected countries.
Media: The Qatari-based broadcaster Al Jazeera has been banned in a number of countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Qatari beIN Sports channel has been suspended in the UAE.
The UAE’s General Prosecutor warned against showing any sympathy for Qatar on social media which is considered a cybercrime, punishable by the law.
By Eudore R Chand